On travelling light: a new year resolution

When burdens weigh heavy
When destinations are hazy
When meanings seem lost
When Meandering is easy
Travelling light, roads not busy
Let us unpack, leave, why carry

Today when India embarks upon a new definition of itself, there are many visions that collide in our mind. For many young people, this is the time to ask basic questions about the way we want to use natural resources while improving quality of our life through enhanced income. These young people are impatient and want get results soon. But they are also concerned that we don’t produce more waste, we don’t use resource beyond their renewability limits, and that all stakeholders get their fair share of returns. Some readers will consider my assumptions quite naïve. How could it be true, when we find every day, wasteful lifestyle gaining popularity and widening income disparity in the society. Sanitation problem getting more and more knottier with increasing production of waste through extensive use of plastic packaging and refusal of Indian middle class to segregate waste at source. Both situations are two true. Paradoxical Indian offers a golden or copper staircase while burning the funeral pyre so that the departed soul may climb over it and reach the heaven. But it doesn’t lend a hand to those who want to travel lightly.

How can we turn our face away from a consumerist culture which inevitably rests on fashion and trends. Fashions change, you change your mobile, dress, bag, vehicle and all the rest. It we produce waste with every change in styles, so what. We don’t have to pack extra food. We order more, leave the rest ion plate, some time get it packed for eating at home. But that is a sign of a frugal class. Elites are supposed to leave waste in plate. My grandfather taught me to take less than I need, clean the plate as if it is polished. Not a single grain was to be left in it. But then that is not fashion, so what if municipal corporation next day has to be responsible for dry and wet waste mixed together.

Travelling light, Buddha said is the only way to sustain this earth. In many drier parts of Maharashtra, gujarat and several other regions of India, first we clean the vessels by ash or sand, then only wash them with minimal water. How do we make that a fashion? Not to consume much, live, eat and manage frugally. How do we change the economic model which thrives on waste, and ostentatious consumption? There is always a place for eating well, eating healthy and eating diverse. We need more and more start-ups offering healthy choices to differently health indicated communities. Special menu for cardiac, diabetes, arthritic people are going to be there, some are there already. Several hotels abroad give you discount if you cycle and generate energy before ordering food. More energy you generate, less you pay. Imagine when entire family will cycle for thirty minutes, burn calories, generate energy and then order healthy, frugal, organic food!

This time in Sattvik Traditional Food festival (Dec 23-25, 2017, AES ground) , we are going to try that. We can try many more ideas for frugal and healthy living. How to kindle creativity of children so that they become harbingers of sustainable future? We are looking for novel ideas, innovative initiatives, doesn’t matter, if these are a bit mischievous ones. Travel Light, is the purpose. Join us in the celebration of light travel in life.

anilg

professor, iim ahmedabad and an independent thinker, activist for the cause of creative communities and individuals at grassroots, tech institutions and any other walk of life committed to make this world a more creative, compassionate and collaborative place ,

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